The most thrilling and dangerous eight-second spectacle in the world will ride into town next year as part of Lacombe Days 2019.
The Lacombe Ringette Association will host both a Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) bullriding event and cabaret on July 27, 2019 as part of a fundraiser during the city’s annual summer festival.
Unanimous approval for the proposal, which was first presented during a committee meeting last week, was given by city council during their regular meeting Monday.
Coun. Thalia Hibbs says it’s an event that has already created some buzz in the city.
“I really think this goes beyond the ringette association – I’ve gotten so much good feedback on this since it was brought to light,” she said, noting people she’s been in touch with are eager to volunteer. “People who have nothing to do with ringette are just stoked about having an event like this in Lacombe, so I think we’re going to see a lot of excitement in the community because of that.”
Bringing CPRA bull riding to the community will see the Can Pak 1 and 2 arenas booked from July 25-28, 2019. Set up and dirt placement to begin Thursday with the event to be held on the Saturday, and removal and a cleaning of the facilities scheduled for the Sunday. Can Pak 1 will be where the main festivities happen, including the bull riding itself, the beer gardens, and the live music cabaret afterwards. Can Pak 2, meanwhile, will act as holding pens for the animals.
There were originally some concerns about the risk of holding such an event within the recently renovated Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex. For one, as explained by Acting CAO Brenda Vaughn and Director of Community Services Deborah Juch, it was a use that was overlooked during the renovation process, and there was a possibility improvements could’ve been made for rodeo events had they explored it at the time.
Other concerns included damage being done to the arena floors by machines during the placing and removal of dirt, dirt migrating into the joints of arena boards or the Zamboni pit potentially causing ice placement and plugging problems, dust setting throughout the arena, and damage to the facility where repair costs would be higher than the damage deposit.
As such, council approval came with a set of conditions, including ensuring the floor and board joints, as well as the Zamboni pit are covered, and acquiring references from the Lacombe Ringette Association’s contractor, Sawyer Pro Rodeos. At the time of Monday’s meeting, administration said they had not made contact with all references, but had acquired names and were confident in Sawyer Pro Rodeos, who host some 60-80 rodeos annually, to be the main contractor for the event.
Other concerns included animal welfare, however, they were addressed through the regulations that come with the event being sanctioned by the CPRA, as well as Sawyer Pro Rodeo’s history and experience with such events.
During the committee meeting last week, Sawyer Pro Rodeo’s Curtis Sawyer said the ringette association could raise $30,000 through the event. Funds would go towards supporting over 100 local players from tournament fees and equipment costs, to ice rental, officiating costs and more.
Mayor Grant Creasey said with concerns addressed, he was more than happy to support such an event, which will be a first in over a decade, coming to the community.
“I for one welcome this with open arms and hope that it is an overwhelming success.”